Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pro D Day

In the olden days when I was a better mom, (and my kids were nicer people) I would plan fun things to do on Pro D Days. Like take the kids and their friends to the cabin for an overnighter. Or go to the beach to do some skimboarding. Or go to the farm and play in the back field. Or whatever.
Drew was too young then to note my awesomeness.

He has no memories of me being cool. He is loudly insistent that I have no part in his days off.

So I went to work and he and his friends took over my house.
I managed to take 2 photos of them when I got home. (Other Pro D Days have filled up whole albums with happy images of happy boys.)
Mike, Brett, John and Drew.
May 1, 2009 Pro D Day.
I ordered pizza for them, then grabbed a few pieces of Hawaiian then drove it and my thoughts out to Surrey to visit my dad.
They are keeping him in over the weekend to test for Parkinson's Decease. We are not surprised by this as we've suspected he's had it for about 6 months. Because really? Heart decease and dementia are just not enough.
When I got to his room, he was lying in his bed with his headphones on and the DVD player humming, but there was no picture and no sound. Apparently this has happened a number of times and it agitates him. Everyone in his room and most of the nurses are made aware of when his DVD stops functioning. He presses his call button and barks out the title of the movie that he wants to see. And hear.
This morning, Jul wrote out the instructions for the nurses:
1. Turn it on.
2. Press play.
When I got there this evening, I added a diagram of where the play button was located and what it looked like.
And then I gave Ling, the male night nurse, a quick demonstration. Unfortunately I discovered that there's a loose wire in dad's headphones, so you have to jiggle them a little bit to get sound. I think this may be a problem tonight. I will buy a new set for tomorrow.
Anyway, when I got there this evening, he was looking unsettled, all hooked up to an entertainment machine that was malfunctioning. I fixed it up, best I could and offered him a slice of pizza. He put the entire piece in his mouth. I thought for sure he'd choke or gag. Sigh.
While he ate, I made myself comfortable on the end of his bed. I pulled his tray table beside me and I started doing homework. I had invitations (to the dessert evening in Charlotte that I'm coordinating) to fold, envelopes to stuff and lick, and postage to attach.
After he (finally) swallowed, he asked me what I was doing. I explained and from there I kept a running monologue going, reminiscing about camping on the May long weekends, bringing hay in from the fields, and so on. Every once-in-awhile he'd interject a thought or question, but mostly it was a once sided conversation.
"I'm not allowed to drive anymore" he said.
"I know. That's sad, isn't it?"
He nodded. "I liked driving."
"I remember. Do you remember when you would have Drew and Chad over for sleepovers?"
"Drew was talking about that the other day. How you would fall asleep, and they would wake you up at midnight and tell you they wanted to go for a drive. And you would get up and take them to Junk Food City to buy candy. And if they liked the CD, they'd get you to drive on the freeway for a half hour or so, so that they could listen longer... do you remember that?"
He starts a smile. First with his eyes. And then his mouth gets involved. But as soon as his lips form a smile, they start to quiver and his eyes fill with tears.
I decide to change the subject.
"I'm hoping to go the beach after I leave here tonight. It's so warm outside."
"I think I'll look for a man."
He smiles. Then the tears form again.
I change subjects again.
"Hey do you remember Cassie?"
"Yes, Cassie Janzzzennn."
"Do you know her mom is still alive?"
"She must be old."
"She is. She's 92."
He nods and tears form again.
I meander all over the place, talking about random things while I stuff envelopes and watch him watching me. Just before visiting hours end, he tells me he has to go pee. I help him out of bed and then clean up the work I'd been doing.
"You tell such good stories!" Maureen (the 85 pound bent-in-half Parkinson's lady who wears a Dolly Parton wig) says.
I turn my attention to her and see that she had moved her chair so that she could listen to me banter all evening. The east-indian woman on the other side of the curtain agrees. This is good information to know. The next time I have no one to talk to, I can just set up a chair in the Acute Care for the Elderly Ward (5th floor, East Wing), rant endlessly and have an appreciative audience.
I left him at 8:15, then called my sister so I could talk about dad to someone else who is related to him, all the way home. I got home at 9:00 to a house that has been under the care and attention of four 14 year olds and one 18 year old. It looked like no adult had been present all day. I asked them if they'd like to go to the beach for awhile... or go see a movie ... or go for a drive, or something.
Drew was not interested and did not bother sugar coating his answer. Harsh, man.
So I got right back in my truck, bought some soup from Olive Garden and drove over to my mom's house. She's still sick. Any normal person would have, by now, gone to see a doctor. But she has this idea that doctor's don't want sick people in their waiting rooms.
I know, I know.
She enjoyed the soup.
And then I left.
I got to Safeway at 10 to buy the People Magazine. And breakfast stuff for Drew and his friends.
And then I got in my truck and realized I forgot to buy the People Magazine.
So I drove closer to my house and stopped at another Safeway and bought the reading material that defines Friday night for me.
I pulled onto my road just before 11 pm and saw 5 cars in my driveway. I KNEW I should have bought chips and pop...
I sat in my truck and called Clint.
"Do you want some pop and chips? Are you sticking around for awhile, or is everyone leaving soon?"
"Pop would be nice. You totally don't have to though."
I turned my truck around and went back to Safeway to buy party food, getting back home at 11:30 pm.
Oh yes, THIS is the glamorous life; Work. Panago Pizza. Olive Garden. Safeway. Safeway. Safeway.
And thus ends the last Pro D Day of this school year.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. It was 27 degrees outside today. (I did manage to sit in my backyard for 20 minutes. I HAD planned on tanning/reading for 60 minutes, but Drew needed me to drive him to dad's house and back again RIGHT DURING THE MIDDLE OF MY "ME" TIME.)
2. Drew and Clint had friends over today. Love it when the house is full.
3. I have the freedom to spend time with my dad and mom. I realize this is a gift.
Oh, and I DID buy the magazine at my first Safeway stop. I have 2 of them.

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